Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A00095 - Rula Quawas, Champion of Feminism in Jordan


Quawas, Rula
Rula Butros Quawas (b. February 25, 1960, Amman, Jordan - d. July 25, 2017, Amman, Jordan) was born in Amman, into a patriarchal society — women were not given the right to vote until 1974 — that as an adult she would refuse to accept.



Born and raised in Jordan, Rula Quawas graduated with a Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of North Texas. At the University of Jordan, Professor Quawas began teaching a wide array of undergraduate and graduate courses pertaining to American Literature, one of which was a groundbreaking course on feminism, focusing on American feminism and its complexities. In addition, she has taught on Arab feminism and contemporary Arab women writers in translation for CIEE (Council on International Education Exchange). As founder of the Women's Studies Center at her university, she was the director for two years -- from 2006- 2008. In addition, she was the founder of Knowledge Production Unit at the Jordanian National Commission for Women in February of 2009. She also serves on many editorial boards such as the Journal of Women’s Entrepreneurship and EducationStudies in Literature in English, and the International Journal of Arabic-English Studies.




In the fall of 2012, Professor Quawas was removed from her position as Dean of Dean of the faculty of Foreign Languages at University of Jordan after a class project created by her students was uploaded to youtube. The video project entitled displayed women students holding signs that depicted insults and verbal harrassment that men have said to them in public.




In 2013, she was named a Fulbright scholar in residence at Champlain College in Vermont. In Jordan, Princess Basma Bint Talal presented her in 2009 with a Meritorious Honor Award for Leadership and Dedication for her efforts to empower women. And she was a finalist for the State Department’s International Women of Courage Award in 2013.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A00094 - Maryam Mirzakhani, First Woman to Win a Fields Medal

Mirzakhani, Maryam
Maryam Mirzakhani (Persian: مریم میرزاخانی‎; b. May 3, 1977, Tehran, Iran - d. July 14, 2017, Palo Alto, California) was an Iranian mathematician, and a full professor of mathematics (beginning on September 1, 2008) at Stanford University. 
Her research interests included Teichmuller theory, hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry.   In 2014, Mirzakhani became the first woman, as well as the first Iranian and the second person from the Middle East (after Elon Lindenstrauss), to be awarded the Fields Medal. 

Maryam Mirzakhani was born in 1977 in Tehran, Iran. She went to high school in the city at the Farzanegan School, a school for gifted girls that is administered by the National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents (NODET). Mirzakhani competed and was recognized internationally for her math skills, receiving gold medals at both the 1994 International Mathematical Olympiad (Hong Kong) and the 1995 International Mathematical Olympiad (Toronto), where she was the first Iranian student to finish with a perfect score.

Mirzakhani obtained her BSc in mathematics (1999) from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. She went to the United States for graduate work, earning a PhD from Harvard University (2004), where she worked under the supervision of the Fields Medalist Curtis McMullen. She was also a 2004 research fellow of the Clay Mathematics Institute and a professor at Princeton University. 

Mirzakhani made several contributions to the theory of moduli spaces of Riemann surfaces.  In her early work, Maryam Mirzakhani discovered a formula expressing the volume of a moduli space with a given genus as a polynomial in the number of boundary components. This led her to obtain a new proof for the formula discovered by Edward Witten and Maxim Kontsevich on the intersection numbers of tautology classes on moduli space, as well as an asymptotic formula for the growth of the number of simple closed geodesics on a compact hyperbolic surface. Her subsequent work has focused on Teichmüller dynamics of moduli space. In particular, she was able to prove the long-standing conjecture that William Thurston's earthquake flow onTeichmuller space is ergodic.

Mirzakhani was awarded the Fields Medal in 2014 for "her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces". She was congratulated for her win by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

She married Jan Vondrak, a theoretical computer scientist.  They had a daughter named Anahita.

Mirzakhani was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. After four years, it spread to her bone marrow. Mirzakhani died from breast cancer on July 14, 2017 at the age of 40.

Monday, June 12, 2017

A00093 - Amina Cachalia, South African Anti-Apartheid Activist and Friend of Mandela

Cachalia, Amina
Amina Cachalia (b. Amina Asvat; June 28, 1930 Vereeniging, South Africa – d. January 31, 2013, Johannesburg, South Africa) was a longtime friend and ally of Nelson Mandela. Her late husband was political activist Yusuf Cachalia.

Cachalia was born Amina Asvat, the ninth of eleven children in Vereeniging, South Africa, on June 28, 1930. Her parents were political activists Ebrahim and Fatima Asvat. She began campaigning against Apartheid and racial discrimination as a teenager. She became a women's rights activist, often focusing on economic issues, such as financial independence for women.
Amina and Yusuf Cachalia were friends of Nelson Mandela before his imprisonment at Robben Island in 1962. She became a staunch anti-apartheid activist. She spent fifteen years under house arrest throughout the 1960s and 1970s. She was the treasurer of the Federation of South African Women (Fedsaw), a leading supporter of the Federation of Transvaal Women, and a member of both the Transvaal Indian Youth Congress and Transvaal Indian Congress during the Apartheid era.

In 1995, Mandela asked Cachalia to marry him. At the time, he had been separated from his wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Cachalia turned down Mandela's proposal because she said that "I'm my own person and that I had just recently lost my husband whom I had enormous regard for". Mandela divorced Madikizela-Mandela a year later and married Graca Machel in 1998.

Cachalia was elected to the National Assembly of South Africa in the 1994 South African general election, the country's first with universal adult suffrage. In 2004, she was awarded the Order of Luthuli in Bronze for her contributions to gender and racial equality and democracy.

After her death, in March 2013, her autobiography When Hope and History Rhyme was published.
Cachalia died at Milpark Hospital in Parktown West, Johannesburg, January 31, 2013, aged 82. The cause of death was complications following an emergency operation due to a perforated ulcer.
Her funeral was held in her home in Parkview, Johannesburg, according to traditional Muslim customs. It was attended by South African President Jacob Zuma, former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, ANC Deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, former First Lady Graca Machel, former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and fellow activisti Ahmed Kathrada, among others.

Friday, June 9, 2017

A00092 - Adnan Khashoggi, Saudi Arms Dealer

Khashoggi, Adnan
Adnan Khashoggi (Arabic: عدنان خاشقجي‎‎, Turkish: Adnan Kaşıkçı; b. July 25, 1935, Mecca, Saudi Arabia – d. June 6, 2017,  London, England) was a Saudi Arabian billionaire international businessman, best known for his involvement in arms dealing.  He is estimated to have had a peak net worth of around US$4 billion in the early 1980s.
Khashoggi was born in  Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the son of Muhammad Khashoggi,  who was King Abdul Aziz Al Saud's personal doctor. His family is of Turkish origin. Adnan Khashoggi's sister was author Samira Khashoggi Fayed who married businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed and was the mother of Dodi Fayed. Another sister, Soheir Khashoggi,  is a well-known Arab writer (MirageNadia's SongMosaic).
Khashoggi was educated at Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt, and the American university, California State University, Chico; Ohio State University; and Stanford University. Barely a year after arriving at Chico State, at 21, he brokered his first major deal, the sale of $3 million worth of trucks to Egypt. His commission was $150,000. He never returned for his college degree. 
Khashoggi headed a company called Triad Holding Company, which among other things built the Triad Center in Salt Lake City, which later went bankrupt. He was famed as an arms dealer, brokering deals between United States firms and the Saudi government,  most actively in the 1960s and 1970s. One of Adnan's first weapons deals was providing David Stirling with weapons for a covert mission in Yemen during the Aden Emergency in 1963. Among his overseas clients were defense contractors Lockheed Corporation (now Lockheed Martin Corporation), Raytheon, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation and Northrop Corporation (which have now merged into Northrop Grumman). 
Between 1970 and 1975, Lockheed paid Khashoggi $106 million in commissions. His commissions started at 2.5% and eventually rose to as much as 15%. Khashoggi became for all practical purposes a marketing arm of Lockheed. 
A shrewd businessman, Khashoggi established companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein to handle his commissions as well as developing contacts with notables such as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers James H. Critchfield and Kim Roosevelt and United States businessman Bebe Rebozo, a close associate of United States President Richard Nixon.  His yacht, the Nabila (named after his daughter)was the largest in the world at the time and was used in the James Bond film Never Say Never Again.  After Khashoggi ran into financial problems he sold the yacht to the Sultan of Brunei, who in turn sold it to Donald Trump for $29 million, who later sold it for $20 million to Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal as part of a deal to keep his Taj Mahal  casino out of bankruptcy.
Khashoggi was implicated in the Iran-Contra affair as a key middleman in the arms-for-hostages exchange along with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and, in a complex series of events, was found to have borrowed money for these arms purchases from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) with Saudi and United States backing. His role in the affair created a related controversy when Khashoggi donated millions to American University in Washington, D. C. to build a sports arena which would bear his name. Khashoggi was a member of the university's board of trustees from 1983 until his indictment on fraud and other charges in May, 1989.
In 1988, Khashoggi was arrested in Switzerland, accused of concealing funds, and held for three months. Khashoggi stopped fighting extradition when the United States prosecutors reduced the charges to obstruction of justice and mail fraud and dropped the more serious charges of racketeering and conspiracy. In 1990, a United States federal jury in Manhattan acquitted Khashoggi and Imelda Marcos, widow of the exiled Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, of racketeering and fraud.
Khashoggi, along with Ramy El-Batrawi, was the principal financier behind Genesis Intermedia, Inc., a publicly traded Internet company based in the United States. In 2006, El-Batrawi and Kashoggi were sued by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission for securities fraud.  The case was settled in 2008; both men did not admit or deny the allegations.
In the 1960s, Khashoggi married 20-year-old Englishwoman Sandra Daly (Sandra Patricia Jarvis-Daly) who converted to Islam and took the name Soraya  Khashoggi. They raised one daughter (Nabila, who attended Millfield School in England and whose son is the pianist and composer Thorvald Spartan von Daggenhurst)  and four sons together (Mohammed, Khalid, Hussein, and Omar).  Soraya and Khashoggi divorced in 1974.  Five years later, a judge ordered Khashoggi to pay Soraya $875 million, the largest-ever divorce settlement at the time. 
Khashoggi's second wife, the Italian Laura Biancolini, also converted to Islam and changed her name to Lamia Khashoggi. She was seventeen when she met Adnan and gave him another son, Ali, in 1980.
In the 1980s, the Khashoggi family occupied one of the largest villa estates in Marbella, Spain, called Baraka, hosting lavish parties usually arranged by Robert Young, a local club owner. Guests at these parties included film stars, pop celebrities and politicians including Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In 1985, celebrity reporter Robin Leach reported Khashoggi threw a five-day birthday party in Vienna for his eldest son, and in his heyday, Khashoggi spent $250,000 a day to maintain his lifestyle.
Khashoggi also owned Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya. His house has since been converted into a hotel which is run by Serena Hotels. 

Khashoggi died peacefully on June 6, 2017 while being treated for Parkinson's disease at St. Thomas' Hospital in London, England.  He was 81 years old.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A00091 - Ado Bayero, Emir of Kano

Bayero, Ado

Ado Abdullahi Bayero (b. July 25, 1930, Kano, Northern Nigeria – d. June 6, 2014, Kano, Nigeria) was seen as one of Nigeria's most prominent and revered Muslim leaders.  He was the son of Abdullahi Bayero son of Muhammad Abbas. Ado Bayero was the 13th Fulani emir since the Fulani War of Usman dan Fodio, when the Fulani took over the Hausa city-states. He was one of the strongest and most powerful emirs in the history of the Hausa land. He was renowned for his abundant wealth, maintained by means of stock market investments and large-scale agricultural entrepreneurship both at home and abroad.
Ado Bayero was the son of Abdullahi Bayero, a former emir, who reigned for 27 years. 
Bayero was born to the family of Hajiya Hasiya and Abdullahi Bayero and into the Fulani Sullubawa clan that has presided over the emirate of Kano since 1819. He was the eleventh child of his father and the second of his mother. At the age of seven, he was sent to live with Maikano Zagi.
Bayero started his education in Kano studying Islam, after which he attended Kano Middle School. He graduated from the School of Arabic Studies in 1947. He then worked as a bank clerk for the Bank of British West Africa until 1949, when he joined the Kano Native Authority. He attended Zaria Clerical College in 1952. In 1954, he won a seat to the Northern regional House of Assembly.
He was head of the Kano Native Authority police division from 1957 until 1962, during which he tried to minimize the practice of briefly detaining individuals and political opponents on the orders of powerful individuals in Kano. He then became the Nigerian ambassador to Senegal. During this time he enrolled in a French language class. In 1963, he succeeded Muhammadu Inuwa as Emir of Kano.
Muhammadu Sanusi who was Ado Bayero's half brother ruled after their father from 1953 to 1963. Following his dethronement in 1963, Muhammadu Inuwa ruled only for three months. After Muhammadu's death, Ado Bayero ascended the throne in October 1963. Bayero was the longest-serving emir in Kano's history. Bayero's Palace played host to official visits by many government officials and foreigners.  
Bayero became emir during the first republic, at a time when Nigeria was going through rapid social and political changes and regional, sub-regional and ethnic discord was increasing. In his first few years, two pro-Kano political movements gained support among some Kano elites. The Kano People's Party emerged during the reign of Muhammadu Inuwa  and supported the deposed Emir Sanusi, but it soon evaporated. The Kano State Movement emerged towards the end of 1965 and favored more economic autonomy for the province.
The death in 1966 of many political agitators from northern Nigeria, and the subsequent establishment of a unitary state, consolidated a united front in the northern region but also resulted in a spate of violence there, including in Kano. Bayero's admirers credit him with bringing calm and stability during this and later crises in Kano.
As emir, Bayero became a patron of Islamic scholarship and embraced Western education as a means to succeed in a modern Nigeria. The constitutional powers of the emir were whittled down by the military regimes between 1966 and 1979. The Native Authority Police and Prisons Department was abolished, the emir's judicial council was supplanted by another body, and local government reforms in 1968, 1972, and 1976 reduced the powers of the emir. During the second republic, he witnessed hostilities from the People's Redemption Party led government of Abubakar Rimi.
In 1981, Governor Abubakar Rimi restricted traditional homage paid by village heads to Ado Bayero and excised some domains from his emirate. In 1984, a travel ban was placed on the emir and his friend Okunade Sijuwade.
In 2002, Bayero led a Kano elders forum in opposing the onshore and offshore abrogation bill.
Ado Bayero was seen as a vocal critic of the Islamist group Boko Haram who strongly opposed their campaign against western education.
On January 19, 2013, Bayero survived an assassination attempt blamed on the Islamist group which left two of his sons injured and his driver and bodyguard dead, among others. 


Ado Bayero died on June 6, 2014. He was succeeded by his brother's grandson Muhammadu Sanusi II. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

A00090 - Joe Tex, Soul Singer

Joseph Arrington, Jr. (b. August 8, 1933, Rogers, Texas – d. August 13, 1982, Navasota, Texas), better known as Joe Tex, was a musician who gained success in the 1960s and 1970s with his brand of Southern soul, which mixed the styles of country, gospel and rhythm and blues.
The career of Joe Tex started after he was signed to King Records in 1955 following four wins at the Apollo Theater. Between 1955 and 1964, he struggled to find hits and by the time he finally recorded his first hit, "Hold On To What You've Got", in 1964, he had recorded thirty prior singles that were deemed failures on the charts. He went on to have four million-selling hits, "Hold What You've Got" (1965), "Skinny Legs and All" (1967), "I Gotcha" (1972), and "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)" (1977). 
Joe Tex was born Joseph Arrington Jr. in Rogers, Texas to Joseph Arrington and Cherie Sue (Jackson) Arrington.  He and his sister Mary Sue were initially raised by their grandmother, Mary Richardson. After their parents divorced, Cheri Arrington moved to Baytown, Texas.  Tex played baritone saxophone in the high school band and sang in a local Pentecostal church choir. He entered several talent shows, and after an important win in Houston, he won $300 and a trip to New York City.  Joe Tex took part in the amateur portion of the Apollo Theater, winning first place four times, which led to his discovery by Henry Glover, who offered him a contract with King Records.  However, his mother's wish was that he graduate from high school first, so Glover agreed to wait a year before signing him at age 19.
Tex recorded for King Records between 1955 and 1957 with little success.  In 1958, he signed with Ace and continued to have relative failures, but he was starting to build a unique stage reputation, opening up for artists like Jackie Wilson, James Brown, and Little Richard.  He perfected the microphone tricks and dance moves that would define the rest of his career. 
In 1960, Tex left Ace and briefly recorded for Detroit's Anna Records label, where he scored a Bubbling Under Billboard hit with his cover version of Etta James' "All I Could Do Was Cry". By then, Tex's use of rapping over his music was starting to become commonplace.
In 1961, he recorded his composition "Baby You're Right" for Anna. Later that year, James Brown recorded a cover version, though with different lyrics and a different musical composition, gaining songwriting credit, making it a hit in 1962, and reaching No. 2 on the R&B chart. It was during this time that Tex first began working with Buddy Killen, who formed the Dial Records label behind Tex. After a number of songs failed to chart, Killen decided to have Atlantic Records distribute his recordings with Dial in 1964. By the time he signed with Atlantic, Tex had recorded 30 songs, all of which had failed to make an impact on the charts.
Tex recorded his first hit, "Hold On To What You've Got", in November 1964 at FAME Studios in Muscel Shoals, Alabama. He was unconvinced the song would be a hit and advised Killen not to release it.  However, Killen felt otherwise and released the song in early 1965. By the time Tex got wind of its release, the song had already sold 200,000 copies. The song eventually peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became Tex's first No. 1 hit on the R&B charts, staying on the charts for 11 weeks and selling more than a million copies by 1966.
Tex would place six top 40 charted singles on the R&B charts in 1965 alone, including two more No. 1 hits "I Want To (Do Everything For You)" and "A Sweet Woman Like You".  He followed that with two successive albums, Hold On To What You've Got and The New Boss. He placed more R&B hits than any artist, including his rival James Brown. In 1966, five more singles entered the top 40 on the R&B charts, including "The Love You Save" and "S.Y.S.L.J.F.M." or "The Letter Song", which was an answer song to Wilson Pickett's "634-5789".
His 1967 hits included "Show Me", which became an often-covered tune for British rock artists and later some country and pop artists, and his second million-selling hit, "Skinny Legs and All". The latter song, released off Tex's pseudo-live album, Live and Lively, stayed on the charts for 15 weeks and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in January 1968.  After leaving Atlantic for Mercury, Tex had several more R&B hits including "Buying a Book" in 1970 and "Give the Baby Anything the Baby Wants" in 1971.
Tex recorded his next big hit, "I Gotcha", in December 1971. The song was released in January 1972 and stayed on the charts for 20 weeks, staying at No. 2 on the Hot 100 for two weeks and sold more than 2 million copies, becoming his biggest-selling hit.  Tex was earned a gold disc of the song on March 22, 1972. The parent album reached No. 17 on the pop albums chart. Following this and another album, Tex announced his retirement from show business in September 1972 to pursue life as a minister for Islam. Tex returned to his music career following the death of Elijah Muhammad in 1975, releasing the top 40 R&B hit, "Under Your Powerful Love". His last hit, "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)", was released in 1977 and peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100 and No. 2 in the United Kingdom.
His last public appearances were as part of a revised 1980s version of the Soul Clan in 1981. After that, Tex withdrew from public life, settling at his ranch in Navasota, Texas.
A convert to Islam in 1966, Tex changed his name to Yusuf Hazziez, and toured as a spiritual lecturer. He had a daughter, Eartha Doucet, and four sons, Joseph Arrington III, Ramadan Hazziez, Jwaade Hazziez and Joseph Hazziez.
On August 13, 1982, Joe Tex died at his home in Navasota, Texas, following a heart attack, five days after his 49th birthday.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A00089 - Ahmed Kathrada, Anti-Apartheid Activist

Kathrada, Ahmed Mohamed
Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada (b. August 21, 1929, Schweizer-Reneke, Western Transvaal, South Africa  – d. March 28, 2017, Johannesburg, South Africa), sometimes known by the nickname "Kathy", was a South African politician, former political prisoner and anti-apartheid activist.
Kathrada's involvement in the anti-apartheid activities of the African National Congress (ANC) led him to his long-term imprisonment following the Rivonia Trial, in which he was held at Robben Island and Pollsmoor Prison.  Following his release in 1990, he was elected to serve as a member of parliament, representing the ANC. He authored a book, No Bread for Mandela- Memoirs of Ahmed Kathrada, Prisoner No. 468/64.
Born into an Indian Muslim family, Kathrada was born in the small country town of Schweizer-Reneke in the Western Transvaal, the fourth of six children in a Gujarati Bohra family of South African Indian immigrant parents from Surat, Gujarat. 
Owing to his Indian origin and the policies of the time, he could not be admitted to any of the "European" or "African" schools in the area and thus he had to move to Johannesburg, 200 miles to the east, to be educated. Once in Johannesburg, he was influenced by leaders of the Transvaal Indian Congress such as Dr.Yusuf Dadoo, I. C. Meer, Moulvi and Yusuf Cachalia, and J. N. Singh. Consequently, he became a political activist at the early age of 12 when he joined the Young Communist League of South Africa.. He took part in various activities such as handing out leaflets and performing volunteer work in the individual passive resistance against the Pegging Act in 1941. During World War II, he was involved in the anti-war campaign of the Non-European United Front.  
At the age of 17, Kathrada left school to work full-time for the Transvaal Passive Resistance Council in order to work against the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act, commonly referred to as the "Ghetto Act", which sought to give Indians limited political representation and defined the areas where Indians could live, trade and own land.
Kathrada was one of the two thousand volunteers imprisoned as a result of the campaign; he spent a month in a Durban jail. This was his first jail sentence for civil disobedience. Reportedly, he gave an incorrect age to the police so that he would not be treated as a juvenile, but sent to an adult prison instead. Later, he was elected as secretary-general of the Transvaal Indian Youth Congress.
While Kathrada was a student at the University of the Witwatersrand he was sent as a delegate of the Transvaal Indian Youth Congress to the Third World Festival of Youth and Students in East Berlin  in 1951.  He was elected as the leader of the large multi-racial South African delegation. He remained in Europe in order to attend a congress of the International Union of Students in Warsaw, and finally travelled to Budapest and worked at the headquarters of the World Federation of Democratic Youth for nine months.
As a result of the growing co-operation between the African and Indian Congresses in the 1950s, Kathrada came into close contact with African National Congress leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu.  Kathrada was one of 156 accused in the four-year Treason Trial which lasted from 1956 to 1960. Eventually, all of the accused were found not guilty.


After the ANC and various other anti-apartheid organizations were banned in 1960, Kathrada continued his political activities despite repeated detentions and increasingly severe house arrest measures against him. In order to be free to continue his activities, Kathrada went underground early in 1963.
On July 11, 1963, Kathrada was arrested at the South African internal headquarters of Umkhonto we Sizwe ("The Spear of the Nation" - the military wing of the ANC) in Rivonia near Johannesburg. Although Kathrada was not a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe, he became one of the accused in the famous Rivonia Trial, which started in October 1963. He was charged with sabotage and attempting to overthrow the government by violent means.
The trial ended in June 1964; Kathrada was sentenced to life imprisonment along with Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Andrew Mlangeni, Billy Nair, Elias Motsoaledi, Raymond Mhlaba and Denis Goldberg. 
For the following 18 years, Kathrada was confined to the Robben Island Maximum Security Prison along with most of his Rivonia Trial "colleagues". In October 1982, he was moved to Pollsmoor Maximum Prison near Cape Town to join others such as Mandela, Sisulu, Mhlaba and Mlangeni who had been moved there a few months before.
While in jail on Robben Island and in Pollsmoor, Kathrada completed a bachelor's degree in History/Criminology and Bibliography as well as Honours degrees in History and African Politics through the University of South Africa. (However, the prison authorities refused to allow him or the other prisoners to pursue postgraduate studies.)
On October 15, 1989, Kathrada, along with Jeff Masemola, Raymond Mhlaba, Billy Nair, Wilton Mkwayi, Andrew Mlangeni, Elias Motsoaledi, Oscar Mpetha, and Walter Sisulu were released from Johannesburg prison.
After the unbanning of the ANC in February 1990, Kathrada served on the interim leadership committees of both the ANC and the South African Communist Party.  He resigned from the latter position when he was elected to the ANC National Executive Committee in July 1991. During the same year, he was appointed as head of ANC public relations as well as a fellow of the University of the Western Cape's  Mayibuye Centre.
Kathrada went on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in 1992.
In the first all-inclusive democratic South African elections in 1994, Kathrada was elected as a member of parliament for the ANC.  In September 1994, Kathrada was appointed as the political advisor to President Mandela in the newly created post of Parliamentary Counsellor. In June 1999, Kathrada left parliamentary politics.
In 1994 and 1995, Kathrada was elected as chairperson of the Robben Island Museum Council. He remained the chairperson of the Robben Island Museum Council. On October 27, 2013, on the island, he launched the International Campaign to Free Marwan Barghouthi and All Palestinian Prisoners.
Kathrada's life partner was Barbara Hogan, a Minister of Public Enterprises. 

Kathrada died at a medical center in Johannesburg from complications of a cerebral embolism on 28 March 28, 2017, at the age of 87.
In addition to receiving the Isitwalandwe Award (the ANC’s highest possible accolade) whilst still in prison, Kathrada has also been awarded four Honorary Doctorates, including the University of Missouri, Michigan State University, and the University of Kentucky. 
Kathrada was also voted 46th in the Top 100 Great South Africans in 2004.
He was awarded the Pravasi Bharativa Samman by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in 2005.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A00088 - Mostafa el-Abbadi, Champion of Alexandria's Resurrected Library

Mostafa El-Abbadi (Arabic: مصطفى العبادي‎‎; b. October 10, 1928, Cairo, Egypt - d. February 13, 2017, Alexandria, Egypt) was a prominent historian of Greco-Roman Egypt and an Egyptian public intellectual.  Formerly the Emeritus Professor in Classics at the Alexandria University, he is credited with proposing the revival of the ancient library of Alexandria, a project embraced by UNESCO in 1986 and completed in 2003. He was later critical of some of aspects of the project as realized by the Egyptian government, telling the New York Times that the library was at risk of becoming "a cultural center" rather than fulfilling its "promise as a world-class research center."


A recipient of the Order of the Nile, El-Abbadi was a member of Egypt's Supreme Council of Culture (SCC), Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), and l'Institut d'Egypte.  He also served as President of the Archaeological Society of Alexandria and was an advisor to UNESCO. Educated in Egypt and the United Kingdom, El-Abbadi received a bachelor's degree from Alexandria University and a special bachelor's degree and doctorate from the University of Cambridge.  He also held an honorary doctorate from the Universite du Quebec a Montreal (UQAM).

Monday, February 20, 2017

A00087 - Omar 'Abdel Rahman, "Radical" Egyptian Cleric

'Abdel Rahman, Omar
'Abdel Rahman, Omar (Omar 'Abdel Rahman) (Omar Ahmed 'Ali 'Abdel Rahman) ('Umar 'Abd al-Rahman) (b. May 3, 1938, Al Gammaliyyah, Dakahlia Governorate, Egypt - d. February 18, 2017, Granville County, North Carolina).  An Egyptian religious scholar and an Islamic fundamentalist leader.  Born to a poor rural family in the village of al-Jamaliyah in Lower Egypt, Omar Ahmed 'Ali 'Abdel Rahman was accidentally blinded at ten months of age.  He studied a Braille version of the Qur'an as a child and developed an interest in the works of the Islamic purists.  He received a traditional religious education in regional urban centers, memorizing the Qur’an.  In 1960, he entered the faculty of Fundamentals of Religion at al-Azhar University in Cairo, where he graduated first in his class in 1965.  Although he had hoped to become a teaching assistant at the university, he was appointed by the state as a mosque preacher in a poor rural village in the Fayyum, Upper Egypt.  He soon returned to al-Azhar, however, obtaining a master’s degree in 1967 and a faculty appointment in 1968.  He continued both his graduate studies and occasional preaching in the Fayyum.

'Abdel Rahman made the pilgrimage to Mecca in 1968 and there met Sa‘id Ramadan, an expatriate leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood who opposed the government of Gamal 'Abdel Nasser.  Ramadan persuaded him to transport funds back to Egypt for the families of jailed brotherhood members.  'Abdel Rahman was arrested in the process and, although he was soon released, he lost his faculty position.  He was appointed to a bureaucratic post later in 1969, but he saw this as a shameful demotion.

'Abdel Rahman continued to preach in the Fayyum.  At a public ceremony after Nasser’s death on September 28, 1970, he condemned Nasser as an infidel and prohibited prayers for him.  As a consequence, he was detained by the government for eight months.

The new regime of Anwar el-Sadat declared an amnesty for jailed Islamic fundamentalists with the aim of enlisting them as a counterweight to leftist forces.  'Abdel Rahman was re-appointed as a teaching assistant at the Azhari Institute in Fayyum, but he was still the subject of controversy among university administrators.  After completing his doctorate in 1972, he briefly held a professorship at al-Azhar before being transferred to the religious faculty in Asyut, a center of Islamic fundamentalist activity.  Both the regional and national governments supported the establishment there of the Jama‘ah (Jama'at) al-Islamiyah ("The Islamic Group"), the Muslim Brotherhood’s student organization, to which 'Abdel Rahman was strongly sympathetic.

In 1977, 'Abdel Rahman married ‘Isha’ Hasan Judah, the daughter of a brotherhood member, and left Egypt to spend four years in Saudi Arabia as a professor of Qur’anic interpretation at Saud University.  Soon after his return, he was arrested for his involvement in the fundamentalist Jihad Organization accused of assassinating President Sadat.  He was accused of leading the organization and of participating in the assassination but was acquitted on both counts and released in 1984.

While he was imprisoned in the Egyptian jails, 'Abdel Rahman was severely tortured as he awaited trial on charges of issuing a fatwa resulting in Sadat's assassination by Egyptian Islamic Jihad.  Although 'Abdel Rahman was not convicted of conspiracy in the Sadat assassination, he was expelled from Egypt following his acquittal.  

During this protracted trial (1981-1984), three factors led to 'Abdel Rahman’s emergence as the leading figure in his Islamist movement.  The first was his book Mithaq al-‘amil al-Islami (“Charter of Islamic Action”), an explanation of his view of correct Islamic life.  It marked his departure from the more moderate wing of the brotherhood and affiliation with the radical forces informed by the concept of jihad and the necessity to overthrow the secular state in order to restore the principles of the Qur’an.  Second, he married again, this time to Fatin Shu‘ayb, a kinswoman of several important activists, affirming his solidarity with the Jama‘ah al-Islamiyah in Upper Egypt and lending weight to his religious status as mufti al-jihad.  Third, most of the major leaders of the jihad organization were executed or imprisoned for life, leaving a power vacuum that 'Abdel Rahman readily filled.

During the decade that followed, 'Abdel Rahman came to be portrayed by his political opponents and the media as the high priest of radical fundamentalism both in and outside Egypt.  After leaving Egypt, he made his way to Afghanistan in the mid-1980s where he contacted his former professor, 'Abdullah Azzam, co-founder of Maktab al-Khadamat (MAK) along with Osama bin Laden.  'Abdel Rahman built a strong rapport with bin Laden during the Afghan war against the Soviets, and following Azzam's murder in 1989, 'Abdel Rahman assumed control of the international jihadists arm of MAK/Al Qaeda.  

In July 1990, 'Abdel Rahman emigrated to New York City in the United States to gain control of MAK's financial and organizational infrastructure in the United States.  He was issued a tourist visa to visit the United States despite his name being listed on a United States State Department terrorist watch list.  Rahman entered the United States via Saudi Arabia, Peshawar, and Sudan.

'Abdel Rahman traveled widely in the United States and Canada.  Despite the United States support for the mujahideen in Afghanistan, 'Abdel Rahman was deeply anti-American and spoke out against America, safe in the knowledge that he was speaking Arabic and was unmonitored by any law enforcement agency.  He issued a fatwa in the United States that declared lawful the robbing of banks and killing of Jews in America.  His sermons condemned Americans and called on Muslims to assail the West.

In March 1992, 'Abdel Rahman was stripped of his green card and was subsequently summoned to a federal hearing on charges that he lied on his visa application.  An INS administrative judge ordered that 'Abdel Rahman be deported from the United States, but 'Abdel Rahman successfully fought the deportation ruling.

Preaching at three mosques in the New York City area, 'Abdel-Rahman was soon surrounded by a core group of devoted followers that included persons who became responsible for the World Trade Center bombings in 1993.  The 1993 bombing utilized a powerful car bomb and was detonated at New York's World Trade Center.  Six people were killed and more than a thousand were wounded.  'Abdel Rahman had intended to cause the bombed tower to fall onto its twin, causing both towers to collapse and killing tens of thousands.

After the first World Trade Center bombing in February 1993, the FBI began to investigate 'Abdel Rahman and his followers more closely.  With the assistance of an Egyptian informant wearing a listening device, the FBI managed to record Rahman issuing a fatwa encouraging acts of violence against United States civilian targets, particularly in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area.  


The most startling plan, the government charged, was to set off five bombs in ten minutes, blowing up the United Nations, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the George Washington Bridge and a federal building housing the FBI.  Government prosecutors showed videotapes of defendants mixing bomb ingredients in a garage before their arrest in 1993.  'Abdel Rahman was arrested on June 24, 1993, along with nine of his followers.  On October 1, 1995, he was convicted of seditious conspiracy, and in 1996 was sentenced to life in prison. 
Abdel-Rahman began serving his life sentence at the FMC Rochester in Minnesota. After the September 11 attacks,  he was transferred to the FMC Butner in North Carolina. He died there on February 18, 2017 at the age of 78 due to complications from diabetes and coronary arterial disease.

One of Rahman's followers, El Sayyid Nosair, was also linked to the 1990 assassination of Israeli nationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the militant Jewish Defense League.  Nosair was subsequently acquitted of murder but was convicted on gun possession charges. Nosair later stood trial as a co-conspirator of Rahman.  Both men received life sentences for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
 
After 1993, 'Abdel Rahman became, in fact, the acknowledged spiritual guide of the Jama‘ah al-Islamiyah, and he assumed great importance to radical Islamists in much of the Muslim world.  His imprisonment became a rallying point for Islamic militants around the world, including Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.  In 1997, members of his group Jama'ah al-Islamiyah conducted two attacks against European visitors to Egypt, including the massacre of 58 tourists at Deir el-Bahri in Luxor.  In addition to killing women and children, the attackers mutilated a number of bodies and distributed leaflets throughout the scene demanding the release of 'Abdel Rahman.

In 2005, members of Rahman's legal team were convicted of facilitating communication between the imprisoned 'Abdel Rahman and members of Jama'ah al-Islamiyah in Egypt.  As for 'Abdel Rahman, he was incarcerated at the Butner Medical Center which is part of the Butner Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina, United States.  

‘Umar ‘Abd al-Rahman see 'Abdel Rahman, Omar
Omar Ahmed 'Ali 'Abdel Rahman see 'Abdel Rahman, Omar
Omar 'Abdel Rahman see 'Abdel Rahman, Omar

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A00086 - Saloua Raouda Choucair, Lebanese Abstract Painter and Sculptor

Saloua Raouda Choucair (Arabicسلوى روضة شقير‎‎) (b. June 24, 1916, Beirut, Lebanon – d. January 26, 2017, Beirut, Lebanon) was a Lebanese painter and sculptor.  She is said to have been the first abstract artist in Lebanon although she sold nothing there until 1962.
Born in 1916 in Beirut, Choucair started painting in the studios of Lebanese painters Moustafa Farroukh (1935) and Omar Onsi (1942).  Her exhibition in 1947 at the Arab Cultural Gallery in Beirut is considered to have been the Arab world's first abstract painting  exhibition. In 1948 she left Lebanon and went to Paris, where she studied at the Ecole nationale superieure des Beaux Arts and attended Fernand Leger's studio. In 1950, she was one of the first Arab artists to participate in the Salon des Realites Nouvelles in Paris and had in 1951 a solo exhibition at Colette Allendy's gallery, which was better received in Paris than in Beirut.
In 1959, Choucair began to concentrate on sculpture, which became her main preoccupation in 1962. In 1963, she was awarded the National Council of Tourism Prize for the execution of a stone sculpture for a public site in Beirut. In 1974, the Lebanese Artists Association sponsored an honorary retrospective exhibition of her work at the National Council of Tourism in Beirut. In 1985, Choucair won an appreciation prize from the General Union of Arab Painters. In 1988, she was awarded a medal by the Lebanese government. A retrospective exhibition organized by Saleh Barakat was presented at the Beirut Exhibition Center in 2011.
Choucair's work has been considered as one of the best examples of the spirit of abstraction characteristic of Arabic visual art, completely disconnected from the observation of nature and inspired by Arabic geometric art.
Choucair received an honorary doctorate from the American University of Beirut in May of 2014.
She turned 100 in June 2016. She died on January 26, 2017.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A00085 - Ali Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani, President of Iran (1989-1997)

Rafsanjani, Ali Akbar Hashimi
Rafsanjani, Ali Akbar Hashimi (Ali Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani) (Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani) (b. August 25, 1934, Nough, Iran - d. January 8, 2017, Tehran, Iran). President of Iran from August 3, 1989 to August 2, 1997.

Rafsanjani was the son of a prosperous farmer in the town of Rafsanjān, in the Kermān region of Iran. He moved to the Shīʿite holy city of Qom in 1948 to pursue his religious studies, and in 1958 he became a disciple of Ruhollah Khomeini. Rafsanjani became a hojatoleslām (from the Arabic ḥujjat al-Islām: “proof of Islam”), the second highest Shīʿite Muslim rank (after that of ayatollah). Like Khomeini, he opposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s modernization program, and when Khomeini was exiled from Iran in 1962, Rafsanjani became his chief fund-raiser inside the country. He spent the years 1975–78 in jail in Iran on charges of links with left-wing terrorists.

With the shah’s overthrow and Khomeini’s return to Iran in 1979, Rafsanjani became one of Khomeini’s chief lieutenants. He helped found the Islamic Republican Party, served on the Revolutionary Council, and was acting interior minister during the early years of the revolution. He was also elected to the Majles (Islamic Consultative Assembly) in 1980, and he became that body’s speaker the same year. As the dominant voice in the Majles for the next nine years, Rafsanjani gradually emerged as the second most powerful figure in Iran’s government. He was intimately involved in Iran’s prosecution of the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88), and he helped persuade Khomeini to agree to the cease-fire of August 1988 that effectively ended the war.

After Khomeini’s death in June 1989, Rafsanjani was instrumental in securing the position of President Ali Khamenei—who was hastily elevated from the less lofty position of hojatoleslām to the rank of ayatollah—as Khomeini’s successor as supreme leader. Rafsanjani himself was elected Iran’s president by an overwhelming margin shortly thereafter. He quickly garnered increased powers for a previously weak executive office, and he showed considerable political skill in promoting his pragmatic policies in the face of resistance from Islamic hard-liners.

Rafsanjani favored reducing Iran’s international isolation and renewing its ties with Europe as part of a strategy to use foreign investment and free enterprise to revive the country’s war-torn economy. Domestically, he implemented family-planning practices, in effect reversing previous policies encouraging population growth. Although human rights abuses and the suppression of dissent continued, there was a degree of cultural openness under Rafsanjani, and a certain level of criticism was tolerated. Nevertheless, demonstrations and protests against the government in the early 1990s were harshly repressed.

Rafsanjani was re-elected in 1993, though his victory was not as overwhelming as in 1989; voter turnout was significantly lower, and he won only two-thirds of the votes in 1993 as compared with more than nine-tenths four years earlier. Barred by the constitution from serving a third consecutive term in office, Rafsanjani nevertheless remained active in political life, serving several terms as head of the Committee to Determine the Expediency of the Islamic Order, a body created to mediate disputes between the Majles and the Council of Guardians (itself empowered to vet legislation and oversee elections).

In the elections to the Majles in 2000, Rafsanjani initially fared poorly—he finished 30th in Tehrān, capturing that city’s final seat. However, the Council of Guardians contended that the election had been marred by fraud, and they ordered a recount; after numerous votes had been discounted and the candidates shuffled, Rafsanjani’s position improved to 20th. This new outcome was criticized by many to be the result of manipulation, and Rafsanjani resigned his seat.

Following Mohammad Khatami’s two-term presidency (1997–2005), Rafsanjani again sought the presidency in 2005. Although largely considered the favorite, Rafsanjani failed to secure a majority by a significant margin and was defeated by the mayor of Tehrān, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was backed by the country’s conservative establishment.

In 2007 Rafsanjani was elected to lead the Assembly of Experts (Majles-e Khobregān), a body empowered to select Iran’s supreme leader. Rafsanjani assumed his position at the head of this assembly while continuing to lead the Committee to Determine the Expediency of the Islamic Order.

In the presidential election of 2009 Rafsanjani was a vocal critic of the incumbent, President Ahmadinejad, and made clear his support of Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister (1981–89) and the leading reformist candidate. When Ahmadinejad was declared the victor by a large margin in spite of Mousavi’s apparent popularity and a record turnout that many thought would favor the reformist contingent, questions of voting irregularities were raised by the opposition. Amid the cycle of protests that followed the election, several of Rafsanjani’s relatives, including his daughter, were briefly detained. Rafsanjani himself was conspicuously absent from the public sphere and noticeably silent in the days that followed the election—a silence some observers suggested belied his activity behind the scenes, although the details of his whereabouts and the precise nature his efforts remained subject to speculation.


In 2011 Rafsanjani did not run for another term as leader of the Assembly of Experts after Ahmadinejad supporters waged a campaign to unseat him, alleging that he was too close to the opposition. He was succeeded by Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani—a traditional conservative supported by the pro-Ahmadinejad camp—who won election in March.

In May 2013 Rafsanjani registered to be a candidate in Iran’s upcoming presidential election, attracting the support of prominent reformers, including Mohammad Khatami. His candidacy ended abruptly later that month when he was disqualified from running by the Council of the Guardians. Rafsanjani protested his disqualification in the media but did not appeal.

Ali Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani see Rafsanjani, Ali Akbar Hashimi
Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani see Rafsanjani, Ali Akbar Hashimi